tv Lockup Boston MSNBC July 23, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. ♪ >> i call him the dawn because he walks around like he owns the unit. >> i've been a burglar basically all my life and banks were my favorite place because banks have money. >> an old-school bank robber. >> this is how i do medication time. >> an inmate with an imaginary friend proves to be a challenge
for the jail. >> i was doing a beat and he was doing the talk. i smashed him out. >> and a shocking act lands his sister in the jail. >> it was all in my face and my hands and my eyes and my dress. i never seen blood gush like that in my life. >> while boston, massachusetts, maintains its colonial past, it's also ranked as the leading metropolitan places for education. in the heart of downtown, however, is a reminder that not every one of its residence is on the right track. >> there are especially the county level, very significant portion of our population of
people who simply can't get out of their own way. mostly they are self-destructive but they commit crimes and hurt people in the process but their lives can be different and there can be a change made. >> the suffolk county jail is often a first stop for bostonians who find themselves under arrest. male inmates awaiting to make bail are maintained where the daily population averages about 700. if they have been convicted of a crime and are sentenced to less than 2 1/2 years, most will transfer to the nearby house of correction, which averages 1700 inmates. while the charges vary, nearly all of them will need to confront the truths of their pasts if they hope to avoid coming back. >> it may be a history of abuse, lack of education, lack of job history, substance abuse issues, you name it. >> but there's another issue that is also bringing more people to jail.
not only in boston but nationwide. >> the percentage of mental illness is off the charts. they are shocking. much harder once people begin to get older to tackle those deficits that have been growing and growing and growing over a period of time. >> though he was deemed competent enough to face his charges and trial, a lifelong mental illness is a reality for corey allen. he is serving a 2 1/2 year sentence for an array of crimes. because he is now on medication, jail officials confirmed he was stable enough to consent to an interview. >> armed robbery, possession of firearm, assault and battery, intimidating a witness, aggravated assault. >> straight from the bloody bean. you know what i mean, she's --
>> i couldn't let go of my past. i have to get revenge and it just happened to be on my birthday that i allegedly picked up this case, you know what i'm saying? rival enemies. a guy with the car, seeing someone, you know, starting shooting at each other and escalated back and forth, you know what i'm saying? follow the person to the house and that's when the assault and battery and the armed robbery transpired at. >> corey's lengthy record has kept him in jail for most of his adult life. >> every time i got out for a short period of time, six months here, two months there, i was out for 30 days before i picked up my next. >> i had what i thought was a straight job. selling marijuana to the community. >> corey's idea of a straight job is not the only unusual aspect of his life. he also has an imagery friend,
chimney. >> a bright dog. he don't have a whole body. he just got a head. he used to bark like that. he used to bark. you know what i'm saying? i didn't know where the bark was coming from so one day i sat there and he talked. so i started talking to him, too. you know what i'm saying? he's my friend. you know? >> corey says he has leaned on jimmy since childhood. the relationship has managed to bring him comfort while also putting him in precarious situations. >> jimmy comes out and aggravated, if i get into the bay, like step into your cell and jimmy is like -- i get on the mirror and talk to him, that was fed up, you know what i'm saying? we know the guy disrespected you. keep going through it in the mirror, you know what i'm saying? we constantly argue and at the end of the day i still love
jimmy. he's been with me all my life. i'm used to him and i want him. plenty of times when i've been lonely, hiding in closets of foster homes, he's the one i talk talked to. he's not all bad. we've made bad decisions together. >> a jail caseworker, who asked we not use her name, says corey's situation is not unique. >> i've had clients tell me that they've heard whispers, people talking, they've heard voices of their family members in their past, enemies in the past, animals, different various types of things. we never challenge their hallucinations. we always listen to them and then we try to make appropriate referrals. so if we feel like they need to make psychiatry, need to be medicated, we'll encourage medication and, if possible, have them see psychiatry and have them prescribed. >> in order to have corey's medication controlled, he is managed by the mental health
staff. >> it's time to do medication time. medication right now. this is going to keep me nice, you know what i'm saying? >> right now i'm pills. today i took three. tonight i'll take six. you know what i'm saying? >> corey represents the type of inmate that shows symptoms of mental illness yet are incarcerated by the courts rather than hospitalized. >> mr. allen is in the general population unit. should someone be deemed incompetent, that would be through a psychiatrist and the court would deem them incompetent and you wouldn't be housed. you would be at bridgewater which is where our state facility is. >> corey has posed problems. >> he's got a very poor impulse control. when he gets ramped up, he's
unable to bring down. there are issues, sometimes he's in much more need of mental health to get back to a calming state. >> no touch and move. okay. it's like that? it's like that. >> >> it's like that. >> while housing corey provides a correctional staff, sharing a cell with angel, a friend from the streets, has made time go by a little easier for everyone. >> we've known each other for seven, eight years. he's a riot. laughing all night, giggling, it's like being on the street almost. it makes your time go a little faster. it drives me nuts when anybody else gets started or new year's eve, it was chris zee up in here. i was trying to figure out who was barking and it was him all the time. >> when he moved in here. >> he got me going crazy. find out it was him. >> it was you that moved in here. >> do you know why he barks? >> he got issues. he's got some serious issues.
coming up -- >> my family is one of the most dysfunctional families that's out there. >> corey allen's sister joins him in jail after a horrifying attack. >> i just cut it and it fell on the floor. almost tastes like one of jack's cereals. fiber one. uh, forgot jack's cereal. [ jack ] what's for breakfast? um... try the number one! [ jack ] yeah, this is pretty good. [ male announcer ] half a day's worth of fiber. fiber one.
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for many bostonians, family traditions are not always possible. when the life of crime is echoed by generations, relatives may wind up together in the suffolk county jail. >> there was a study written about ten years ago and the study basically stated that all of the crime in boston was attributed to 300 families. i see family members, whether they are cousins, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, boston is a small city and it's tough. >> such is the case for corey
allen. >> there is no other family like my family. we're all crazy. we all got up and downs. but we love each other. i love my mother, my father, my sister, and my brother. my father just left here. >> corey's sister, melissa allen, who he calls lisa, is just a few floors above him at the house of correction where females. >> i tried to play football with her and she wanted me to play hula-hoop. but she took care of me a lot. she made sure we eat when we didn't have food. you know what i'm saying? i just love my sister. >> while corey has tender words for his sister, life on the streets has been anything but tender for melissa? her addiction to drugs has made her no stranger to the suffolk
county jail. >> i've been doing drugs since i was 24. since i was 24. i'm 37 now. it's been a long time. all this has to do my dirty work, on the streets, sell drugs, do all that. a couple streets down, that's where i live. and they put me in a room where i can see everything i did. >> melissa's life on the street, which she admits involved prostitution and drug use, often put her in danger. >> if i don't have a knife, i have a razor. it's the only -- here.
and just pull it out. or have it in my mouth. >> melissa is current lie in jail on an aggravated assault charge, to which she has pled not guilty, on grounds of self-defense. the alleged victim was a male friend. we warn you, the details of the alleged crime are disturbing. >> i gave him $100 to go upstairs to get something, to get a package. a package meaning crack. get a whole bunch of crack. he finally came downstairs and was like, wrz my -- what took you so long? [ bleep ] oh really? and he went to my bra to take the rest of my money and so i squeezed him and he pushed me, punched me so he's real big so i jumped on his [ bleep ] and he had no underwears on and he had red shorts on he he's got about big balls so i took my knife out and i just cut it and
it fell on the floor. >> what? >> his balls fell on the floor. and blood was all in my face, my eyes, my hair, my dress, everywhere. i never seen no blood gush like that in my life. i must have cut a vain or something. never, ever put your hands on me. it wasn't the money because i can careless about the money because the money comes easy to me. it was the point, how he just came at me and grabbed me and then punched me, like i'm a man. but he didn't really know that i can be a man. >> if convicted, melissa could face a sentence of three to five years. but she hopes the judge will view the assault as self-defense and give her a chance at drug rehabilitation rather than prison. while she is here, melissa's contact with corey has been limited to cards and letters. they have been approved for
inmate to inmate correspondence within the jail. >> oh, this is from lisa. >> he got something wrong with him. ain't nobody perfect. everybody has their perfect moments and stuff. but every minute, every day, all day. i don't know. i don't care what he do, what he does, i don't care. that's my baby brother and i love him. i'm always there for him. >> remember i said i was going to write her yesterday. i was going to write her today and then i'm like, no, busy day. then i received her letter. you know what i'm saying? if it makes me feel happy, makes me feel sad, even though she forgot the "e" in my name, that's all right. because i'm corey. my family is one of the most dysfunctional families that's out there. i love my family. you know what i'm saying? there's something good about us, you know? >> if i get out i will send some
pictures and money order. be good. stay out the hole. >> i'm going to cry. i can't keep reading this. i miss her so much. >> corey, melissa's brother, william allen, is also serving time at the house of correction. he's been sentenced for a year and a half for assault and battery. >> my sister said to me one day, it must be a family curse. it must be. i mean, hard time has fallen on us all. well, i had a white band and yellow band. these are symbolic to my family, my sister, and my brother, corey and lisa. i wear them to keep them close to my heart and let them know that i'm thinking about them every day. >> he loves his family.
even if you're doing bad or doing good, he put his family first. >> the first thing when i wake up in the morning and last thing on my mind when i go to sleep every night. nobody failed. we just found 10,000 ways that didn't work. basically, that's all it is. we're destined for greatness but something is stopping us from reaching who we are. maybe we're here for a reason and we haven't missed it. >> all three allen siblings have battled drug abuse. but the source of inspiration has been william who writes poetry. >> my name is addiction. i'm a jeannie in a bottle hold up. let me take a sip on that bottle but first be warned it's going to be the hardest thing to swallow. you're a grown man so go ahead and tip that bottle. oh, snap, oh, genie, we became
the best of friends and my smile came to a frown when he never came around genie you deceived me, no the spirit in the bottle misled you and no, my life has been stolen so i fall on bended knees and i ask god how could this be? his only reply, it was you that left me. it's not worth it. that's all i've got to say about that. coming up -- >> i was the leader of the gang. i had bigger guys to bring the tools in. because the tools involved were pretty heavy. even money is heavy if you have duffle bags full of it. going to the bank without going to the bank... that's a step forward. with chase quickdeposit on your smartphone, you just snap a picture, hit send and done. chase quickdeposit. take a step forward and chase what matters. ♪ we just keep on keepin' on ♪
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prison. >> he's an old timer. he's a hardened criminal, been in and out of institutions his whole life. he's one of those guys, he doesn't really bother anybody. he does his time, knows how to do time. >> peppe is currently serving a two-year sentence for the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and possession of a firearm. >> i call him the dawn because of the way he walks around and he walks around like he owns the unit or thinks he owns the unit. >> it's due in part to his skill at gaming strategy. in jail, the stakes can be for canteen, phone calls, or something more creative. for william allen, losing means sweating. >> what would you like to play?
>> another 20. >> okay. your first move. >> we play for pushups on demand. i can call for these pushups at any time of the day or night, no matter where is he on this unit, on the yard or in the gym. he has to stop what he's doing and give me the pushups. >> that move, you just lost the game. >> he is a master checker player. and to think about it, out of all the people that said, don't tell nobody. not even my son knows this. and he was like, now you know. so now we a level playing field. still yet, still doing hundreds of pushups on the floor. >> and again? >> how much is that? >> it was 77 so now it's 97. >> i'll take five right now. >> allen and peppe have shared more in common than checkers.
both have battled addictions to drugs and alcohol and for peppe it's been a very long battle. >> my drug of choice is speed balls, which is half cocaine and half heroin, injected simultaneously. it's a very dangerous high but i feel it's the best high in the world. >> but peppe was much more than a run of the mill drug addict. >> i've been a burglar basically all my life and thanks for my favorite place because banks have money. it's like if you want to steal a car, you go to a car wash, if you want to steal groceries, go to a supermarket and shop lift. if you want money, i think the best place for me was a bank. >> peppe has been robbing banks since the 1960s. his heists were like something out of a movie. >> i thought sort of was a leade
gang. i had bigger guys to bring the tools in because the tools to open the vault are pretty heavy. even money is heavy if you have duffle bags full of it. you know, we had somebody case it and a couple of guys to do the real heavy construction work or destruction work, you know, the last specialist, shut off, we own the bank. that's how i felt. and everybody with us, we used to take food in there and everything. we were hungry, you know, we have a whole bunch of sandwiches and something to drink and cigarettes. you know, just like a job. >> but in jail, peppe's job cleaning the tvs and microwaves paid just a dollar. >> i try to take pride with these microwaves and do a great job doing them because people eat out of them and wouldn't want anybody to be sick.
>> i felt that i was ahead of all of the people that worked for a living. but now i realize that i miss my life because i've been incarcerated for so long. and i think the guy with the lunch bag very far in front of me has a very honest living. >> but peppe has had enough living on the outside to and looks forward to be released in two more months. >> i have a son that will be 50 years old this september coming up. my youngest -- my youngest one is 16 months. i have a set of twins, a former girlfriend. this time i have the opportunity of going home and raising a few more children while i'm there. so i don't think i want to screw
up anymore. coming up -- >> it's an extra five seconds but it's totally worth it if you're going to be taking the test. >> i ripped my parole papers up because i don't need them. back. right now, get a great deal on new volkswagen models, including the cc. and every volkswagen includes scheduled carefree maintenance. that's the power of german engineering. right now lease the volkswagen cc sport for just $289 a month. ♪ visit vwdealer.com today. is now honey nut cheerios! yup, america's favorite. so we're celebrating the honey sweetness, crunchy oats and... hey! don't forget me!! honey nut cheerios. make it your favorite too! >> ( rooster crows ) >> by 2020, 50 billion network devices
msnbc now, i'm mar ra. house speaker john boehner is hoping to have a framework for a debt ceiling ready to announce by tomorrow evening. leaders from both parties ended with no agreement and no more finger pointing. norway is being used as an oklahoma type explosive device. and, now, back to lockup. >> due to mature subject matter viewer discretion is advised.
doing time in boston's suffolk county jail is away from the ivy league university located miles away. but once a week those two worlds intersect when students from harvard university and boston college come to the jail to help inmates earn their geds. >> that's a good thing. looking out for us. you know what i'm saying? there is a world out there. people to help you. >> girard has been teamed with alexander, a harvard. >> we all make mistakes and try to do it in my head. write it out. it will take an ex true five seconds but it's totally worth it. each answer matters for the
final score. people have a wall about what this whole mcommunity is like ad that's one of the more interesting parts of being here. >> you're very confident. >> absolutely. i know this stuff. >> i want to make you prove to me that you know this stuff on paper. >> smart. go to harvard. >> people can let their defenses down in the classroom. they can protect those kinds of things. you don't want to make yourself vulnerable. in the classroom you can be vulnerable. >> to maintain a classroom environment, deputies remain outside of the room but keep watch on what is happening inside. >> i decided to do this program because i wanted to be able to learn a little more because when i do get out i can teach my son a little more than what i didn't learn in school so i can be
ready to help him when he gets older. daddy. >> d.c., whatever, you know, it was something better. >> it's pretty good. >> the tutoring program is not large enough to accommodate everyone in the jail. so melissa allen has turned to another inmate. megan for help. >> judging me and stuff. >> i treat people how i want them to treat me. >> math is one of my better skills. it comes easy to me. so something that she struggles
with, if i can help her with that, it's not going to hurt me. ten minutes and write out the multiplication tables. all i have here is time. why not use it for something constructive. >> melissa sees learning math as a step towards getting her life back on track after years of drug addiction and prostitution. >> monday through sunday, nonstop, every day. there's not a day that passed, every day. i looked like a dam fool. i can see myself out there now, i looked like a damn fool. running around like. [ bleep ] probably smelled like one. i don't know. 37 years old. i can't do this no more. i don't want my brothers to be here. >> we're the allenes. we're better than that.
you know? i feel like they following me, you know, because i'm the oldest. i can't do this. i have nieces and nephews that i hardly don't see. god as my witness, they let me out of here, hu-huh, i'm not coming back. i'm done. >> melissa hopes that the judge in her aggravated assault case will soon send her to drug rehab rather than prison. >> yo, what's up? all the time, east side, that's how we do it here. >> a few floors below, her younger brother corey was just given the opportunity to leave on parole and turned it down and will now be in jail for six more months. >> i ripped my parole papers off. i don't need them. i want to do all my time. the time they gave me, i don't
want nothing for free. i can do it. now that's gangster. that's gangster. >> they truly know that they cannot make it going back to their communities underneath the standards and guidelines that parole gives them. inmates would rather wrap up their sentence here, walk out the door knowing that they don't have somebody else watching over them. >> let's say i do parole time, you've got to do that. you go, whatever happens, whatever happens. it's my choice. i would rather just wrap it up. >> there is also significant benefit to corey remaining in jail. he receives psychiatric medication and treatment for mental illness. he still maintains a lifelong relationship with this imagery companion, takes the form of a pitbull head.
>> jimmy, jimmy. you know, me and jimmy have some interactions the last few weeks. some have been good, some have been bad. but i told him if i feel and jimmy feels that it's making me slow in any shape or form, i'm going to get off the medication because i don't like to be down. i like to be up. >> corey's decision to go off his medication not only affects him but his new cell mate, jonathan elliott, who must cope with both corey and jimmy. >> did you brush your teeth today? >> no. >> that's crazy. [ bleep ] >> he's all right. hard to live with. it's just he has two personalities. it's kind of tough living in this cell. when there's three people in here, it gets really crowded and when you have four personalities
in here, it's not the easiest thing to deal with. i'm not saying i'm perfect either but other people feel the same way. >> he's probably one of the best cells that i've had since i've been here. >> and what do you think, corey? what do you think about johnny? >> i love johnny even though he don't know how to keep his food in his mouth. he spits it all over me. you know, we play chess together. he looks out. i have no canteen, he looks out for me. i have coffee, i look out for him. we just get along. >> try to calm him down because i'm living in here with him. i mean, it's just a real hyper kid. coming up, one of the jail's oldest inmates is sanctioned for fighting and william allen must confront a violent past.
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some inmates try to avoid trouble while serving time at the suffolk county jail in boston. for each month they don't receive a disciplinary writeup, they can earn good time or days off their sentences. with the good time that he's eligible to learn, 65-year-old anthony peppe's release. >> it's an awesome feeling
because you have to be in prison and a ton peppe has just been told that he will not be earning 15 days of good time. he's been sanctioned for fighting. >> inmate peppe was down in a medium security housing unit in 121. as the officer approached, he looked into the cell and found that inmate peppe was breathing heavily and bended down and noticed and inmate peppe alleges that he just hit another inmate with his cane and the inmate attacked him. >> he knocked me out of my chair and he said that i hit him. i did not hit this man.
i'm 65 years old. my back hurts all the time. i'm not rugged anymore. i don't want to fight no more. i just want to enjoy the rest of my life. i'm a lover, not a fighter. >> because the fight allegedly took place inside a cell, cannot determine who started it. so both peppe and the other inmate have been sent to segregation for a period of five weeks. >> check if there is anything. isolation is not a nice place to be. they let you out for shower and recreation two times and week and that's it. otherwise, everything comes right to your cell. the meals are delivered here. caseworker comes by, nurse comes by. it's pretty dumb. >> peppe's time in segregation might be even more stressful. he and the mother of his 16
month old twins are having problems. >> not getting along right now so whatever she decides, she decides and i walk away from her and if it's not meant to be with her, it's not meant to be with her. >> but peppe still has some hope for the future. >> i have had quite a life. really quite a life. i want to enjoy whatever life i have left and and we come back to society and never do any more time and just be appreciative of the world. >> now you enter society coming right out of jail, you find things that didn't work doesn't mean you didn't fail. you live the best way you know how and it's more than the law
could allow. coming out of jail, i couldn't put that on my resume. i was in prison, i was being built, i was in a state of prepare. >> peppe's friend william allen, has another six months to serve on a year and a half sentence on battery and aggravated assault. >> i had the pleasure of serving on two details in the segregation unit which is the hole and tower detail which is collecting uniforms and trash and mopping. >> allen had recently applied for early release to a halfway house but was denied by the classification director. >> all right. >> jail officials are not convinced that he has sufficiently come to terms with the violent charges that brought him to jail. >> there are some major issues in his criminal history that he needs to address and be accountable for.
>> allen has asked to speak to his caseworker for advice on how to make the classification director reconsider. >> first of all, what were the questions that he asked you? are you an addict and have you addressed your violent behavior? >> i'm trying to take up meditation. i've been spiritually active. as far as drinking and alcoholism, i still remain on the 12 steps daily. >> if i'm mr. travis, i'm going to tell you that's not an answer. basically what that gives sme ten pounds of pull crap in a five-pound bag. that's what that is. >> that's what i'm saying. >> that's how it works. >> you need to address mr. travis with facts. not with, i'm going to, i want to go to, i need to go to. you need to give him facts that says, this is what i've done to make myself more productive person and to address what potentially are long term problems for me. you have a violent criminal history. we've got to be able and you've got to be able to explain your criminal history to the person
in classification. that's the only way that this is going to work for you. okay? so if i'm you right now. >> yeah. >> i'm thinking about what can i do to present myself to classification and show them that my criminal history is in the past and this is what i'm going to become a more positive person and this is the direction that i need to head? okay? >> okay. thank you for your time. >> all right. thank you. >> two floors above, william's sister melissa allen is about to go to court on aggravated assault. she's written the judge a letter asking to go to a drug rehabilitation program rather than prison. >> i said, dear your honor, i have been thinking a lot about how i can change my ways. number one, to stop using violence as an answer to
everything because in the long run it's only hurting myself and my kids. another thing i would like to change is my use of drugs because drugs are getting me nowhere in life. your honor, jail is not helping me. so, your honor, please give me another chance to get into a program and, thank you, i won't disappoint you this time. coming up -- >> i was doing the beating. jim me was doing the talking. >> corey allen goes off his meds while his brother william -- >> now i have to go into survival mode. >> and his sister melissa faces major changes. almost tastes like one of jack's cereals.
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to serve the remainder of his 2 1/2 year sentence at boston house of correction but it might not be an easy stay. he was recently involved in a brutal fight, caught in a jail surveillance camera. >> he thought i was a punk, you know. he thought he could talk to me any way he wanted. i got to do what i got to do. i. [ bleep ] him up. cap pen michael colewell. >> he's approaching corey allen and delivers the first blow and it turns out to be an altercation and what you see here and punches to the head and
torso. that happens for seven seconds as the beginning officers begin to arrive. >> they asked me, where was the weapon. that's what they asked me. i said, what weapon? they said i used a weapon. i didn't use no weapon. you know what i'm saying? i just didn't play no games. >> even though corey didn't start the fight, he received two months in segregation for having gone beyond defending himself for becoming the aggressor. since the move, he's refused his medication. >> corey says his interactions with his imaginary companion jimmy are increasing. >> i hear jimmy all the time. did you see me talking to the dude when i was beating him? i was talking to him.
i say, i told you [ bleep ] that was jimmy. i was doing the beating and jimmy was doing the talking. anything i do, jimmy does, too, you know what i'm saying? i don't believe i'm taking medication for myself. i believe i'm taking it for jimmy. jimmy is a [ bleep ] right now. >> corey's brother william has also had a set back. he was caught entering another inmates cell. he's now lost his chance at an early release to a halfway house. >> when he entered the other inmates cell, it was 3:00 in the morning. in the particular housing unit that inmate allen was in, those doors are not secured. they are not locked due to the nature of what kind of housing unit that is. they are not supposed to be going into another inmate's cell at that point. at that time he was on a detail and that detail was the night detail. that's why he was awake at 3:00 in the morning.
however, he chose to take advantage of the situation by entering someone else's cell at that time. inmate allen is typically not a disciplinary problem. >> all he charged with me was with being out of place. that's all the charges was. >> william will now have to serve out the remaining six months of his sentence in jail. >> now i have to go into survival mode. you regret your movements, your actions, you have to think about whether to bite your tongue or hold your tongue, this is a game of chess. this is nothing but an art of war. that's all it is. >> while things have been tough for the allen brothers, their sister melissa has gotten some good news from the judge. he has given her 60 days to find a drug rehabilitation facility that will accept her for an intensive six month treatment
plan. >> my knees are knocking together. i have my cross, please, please, please don't send me to jail. he said, i'm going to do this last thing. go for 60 days and find a program and when you find that program, bring the paper back or when they accept you, bring it back to home and they will wave me in and take me from there. you can't get no better than that. for what i did, you can't get no better than that. >> >> family, it's been so many years since we've drifted apart. i was trapped in a maze to find my way and confront my fears and people going insane and drugs and lifestyle had a hold and it won't let go and telling me that it's killing me slow but yet in my heart i refuse to succumb, never again will it be second to none.